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23rd session
Agenda item 17



A 23/Res.951
25 February 2004
Original: ENGLISH

Resolution A.951(23)

Adopted on 5 December 2003 (Agenda

item 17)



RECALLING Article 15(j) of the Convention on the International Maritime Organization

concerning the functions of the Assembly in relation to regulations and guidelines concerning
maritime safety,

RECALLING ALSO that, by resolution A.602(15), it adopted the Revised Guidelines for
Marine Portable Fire Extinguishers, to supplement the relevant requirements of chapter II-2 of the
International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, as amended, as well as
chapter V of the Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, 1977,

RECOGNIZING the need to further improve the said Revised Guidelines following the
adoption of amendments to chapter II-2 of the 1974 SOLAS Convention and of the 1993
Torremolinos Protocol to the 1977 Torremolinos Convention referred to above, and in the light of
the experience gained from the application of the Revised Guidelines,

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HAVING CONSIDERED the recommendation made by the Maritime Safety Committee

at its seventy-fifth session,

1. ADOPTS the Improved Guidelines for Marine Portable Fire Extinguishers, the text of
which is set out in the Annex to the present resolution;

2. RECOMMENDS Governments concerned to apply the annexed Improved Guidelines in

conjunction with the appropriate requirements of the international instruments referred to above;

3. AUTHORIZES the Maritime Safety Committee to keep the Improved Guidelines under
review and amend or extend them as necessary;

4. REVOKES resolution A.602(15).

For reasons of economy, this document is printed in a limited number. Delegates are kindly
asked to bring their copies to meetings and not to request additional copies.



1 Scope

These Guidelines have been developed to supplement the relevant requirements for marine portable
fire extinguishers* of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 74, as amended, the
International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code) and the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol
relating to the Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, 1977. The
Guidelines are offered to Administrations to assist them in determining appropriate design and
construction parameters. The status of the Guidelines is advisory. Their content is based on current
practices and does not exclude the use of designs and materials other than those indicated below.

2 Definitions

2.1 An extinguisher is an appliance containing an extinguishing medium, which can be

expelled by the action of internal pressure and be directed into a fire. This pressure may
be stored pressure or be obtained by release of gas from a cartridge.

2.2 A portable extinguisher is one, which is designed to be carried and operated by

hand, and which in working order has a total weight of not more that 23 kg.

2.3 Extinguishing medium is the substance contained in the extinguisher which is

discharged to cause extinction of fire.

2.4 Charge of an extinguisher is the mass or volume of the extinguishing medium

contained in the extinguisher. The quantity of the charge of water or foam extinguishers is
normally expressed in volume (litres) and that of other types of extinguishers in mass

3 Classification

3.1 Extinguishers are classified according to the type of extinguishing medium they
contain. At present the types of extinguishers and the uses for which they are recommended
are as follows:

Extinguishing medium Recommended for use on fires involving

Water wood, paper, textiles and similar materials
Water with additives
Foam wood, paper, textiles and flammable liquids
Dry powder/dry chemical (standard/ flammable liquids, electrical equipment and flammable
classes B, C ) gases
Dry powder/dry chemical (multiple or wood, paper, textiles, flammable liquids, electrical
general purpose/classes A, B, C) equipment and flammable gases
Dry powder/dry chemical (metal) combustible metals
Carbon dioxide flammable liquids and electrical equipment
Wet chemical for class F or K cooking grease, fats or oil fires
Clean agents**

Wherever in the text of these Guidelines the word portable extinguisher appears it should be taken as meaning
marine portable fire extinguisher.
Refer to the recommendations by the International Organization for Standardization, in particular Publication ISO
7165:1999, Fire-fighting Portable fire extinguishers Performance and construction.

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3.2 A table is provided in the appendix which describes the general characteristics of each type of

4 Construction

4.1 The construction of an extinguisher should be designed and manufactured for

simple and rapid operation, and ease of handling.

4.2 Extinguishers should be manufactured to a recognized national or international

standard1, which includes a requirement that the body, and all other parts subject to
internal pressure, be tested:

.1 to a pressure of 5.5 MPa or 2.7 times the normal working pressure, whichever is the
higher, for extinguishers with a service pressure not exceeding 2.5 MPa; or

.2 in accordance with the recognized standard for extinguishers with a service pressure
exceeding 2.5 MPa.

4.3 In the design of components, selection of materials and determination of maximum

filling ratios and densities, consideration should be given to the temperature
extremes to which extinguishers may be exposed on board ships and operating
temperature ranges specified in the recognized standards.

Refer to the recommendations by the International Organization for Standardization, in particular Publication ISO
7165:1999, Fire-fighting Portable fire extinguishers Performance and construction.

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4.3 The materials of construction of exposed parts and adjoining dissimilar metals should be
carefully selected to function properly in the marine environment.

5 Fire classifications

5.1 Fire classifications are generally indicated as A, B, C, D and F (or K). There are
currently two standards, defining classes of fires according to the nature of the
material undergoing combustion, as follows:

International Organization for Standardization National Fire Protection Association

(ISO standard 3941)* (NFPA 10)

Class A: Fires involving solid materials, usually of Class A: Fires in ordinary combustible materials such as
an organic nature, in which combustion wood, cloth, paper, rubber and many plastics.
normally takes place with the formation of
glowing embers.
Class B: Fires involving liquids or liquefiable Class B: Fires in flammable liquids, oils, greases, tars,
solids. oil base paints, lacquers and flammable gases.
Class C: Fires involving gases. Class C: Fires, which involve energized electrical
equipment where the electrical non-
conductivity of the extinguishing medium is of
importance. (When electrical equipment is de-
energized, extinguishers for class A or B fires
may be used safely.)
Class D: Fires involving metals. Class D: Fires in combustible metals such as
magnesium, titanium, zirconium, sodium,
lithium and potassium.
Class F: Fires involving cooking oils. Class K: Fires involving cooking grease, fats and

*Comite Europeen de Normalisation (CEN standard EN2) closely follows ISO standard 3941.
6 Test specifications

6.1 Construction, performance and fire-extinguishing test specifications should be to

the satisfaction of the Administration, having due regard to an established
international standard2.

7 Criteria for assessing compliance with chapter 4 of the FSS Code and regulations V/20
and V/38 of the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol relating to the 1977 Torremolinos

7.1 Chapter 4 of the FSS Code requires that extinguishers have a fire-extinguishing
capability at least equivalent to that of a 9 L fluid extinguisher having a rating of 2A
on class A fire which may be water or foam as required by the Administration. This
equivalence may be demonstrated by fire test ratings determined according to an
international, national or other recognized standard*.

7.2 The size and type of extinguishers should be dependent upon the potential fire
hazards in the protected spaces while avoiding a multiplicity of types. Care should
also be taken to ensure that the quantity of extinguishing medium released in small
spaces does not endanger personnel.

Refer to the recommendations by the International Organization for Standardization, in particular Publication ISO
7165:1999, Fire-fighting Portable fire extinguishers Performance and construction.


8 Marking of extinguishers

8.1 Each extinguisher should be clearly marked with the following minimum

.1 name of the manufacturer;

.2 types of fire and rating for which the extinguisher is suitable;

.3 type and quantity of extinguishing medium;

.4 approval details;

.5 instructions for use and recharge (it is recommended that operating instructions be
given in pictorial form, in addition to explanatory text in language understood by
the likely user);
.6 year of manufacture;

.7 temperature range over which the extinguisher will operate satisfactorily; and

.8 test pressure.

9 Periodical inspections and maintenance

9.1 Extinguishers should be subject to periodical inspections in accordance with the

manufacturer’s instructions and serviced at intervals not exceeding one year.

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9.1.1 At least one extinguisher of each type manufactured in the same year and
kept on board a ship should be test discharged at five yearly intervals (as part of a
fire drill).

9.1.2 All extinguishers together with propellant cartridges should be hydraulically

tested in accordance with the recognized standard or the manufacturers instruction
at intervals not exceeding ten years.

9.1.3 Service and inspection should only be undertaken by, or under the
supervision of, a person with demonstrable competence, based on the inspection
guide in table 9.1.3.

9.2 Records of inspections should be maintained. The records should show the date of
inspection, the type of maintenance carried out and whether or not a pressure test
was performed.

9.3 Extinguishers should be provided with a visual indication of discharge.

9.4 Instructions for recharging extinguishers should be supplied by the manufacturer

and be available for use on board.

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Safety clip and indicating devices Check to see if the extinguisher may have been operated.
Pressure indicating device Where fitted, check to see that the pressure is within limits.
Check that dust covers on pressure indicating devices and relief
valves are in place.
External examination Inspect for corrosion, dents or damage which may affect the
safe operation of the extinguisher.
Weight Weigh the extinguisher and check the mass compared to the
fully charged extinguisher.
Hose and nozzle Check that hoses and nozzles are clear and undamaged.
Operating instructions Check that they are in place and legible.
Water and foam charges Remove the charge to a clean container if to be reused and
check if it is still suitable for further use. Check any charge
Powder charges Examine the powder for reuse. Ensure that it is free flowing
and that there is no evidence of caking lumps or foreign bodies.

Gas cartridge Examine for damage and corrosion.

Air passages and operating mechanism Prove clear passage by blowing through vent holes and vent
devices in the cap. Check hose, nozzle strainer, discharge tube
and breather valve, as applicable. Check the operating and
discharge control. Clean and lubricate as required.
Operating mechanism Check that the safety pin is removable and that the lever is
Gas cartridge Examine for damage and corrosion. Weigh the cartridge to
ascertain that it is within prescribed limits.
O-rings washers and hose diaphragms Check O-rings and replace hose diaphragms if fitted.
Water and foam bodies Inspect the interior. Check for corrosion and lining
deterioration. Check separate containers for leakage or
Powder body Examine the body and check internally for corrosion and lining
Water and foam Replace the charge in accordance with the manufacturers
Reassemble Reassemble the extinguisher in accordance with the
manufacturers instructions.
Maintenance label Fill in entry on maintenance label, including full weight.
Mounting of extinguishers Check the mounting bracket or stand.
Report Complete a report on the state of maintenance of the

Table 9.1.3 Inspection guide

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Extinguishing Water Foam Powder Carbon dioxide Clean agents

medium used:
Water, with possible salts in Water solution Dry chemical Pressurized
solution containing foam Powders carbon dioxide
Expellant charge of Carbon dioxide Carbon dioxide or Carbon dioxide or
the extinguisher or other other pressurized other inert gases
(stored pressure or pressurized inert inert gases or or dry air (stored
cartridge as gases or compressed air pressure or
indicated): compressed air (stored pressure or separate cartridge)
(stored pressure separate cartridge)
or separate

The discharge of the Opening of the Opening of the Opening of the Opening of the
extinguisher is valve. Action of valve. Action of valve. Action of valve of the
achieved by: pressurized gas pressurized gas pressurized gas container
(opening of the (opening of the (opening of the constituting the
cartridge) cartridge) cartridge) extinguisher

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Water Foam Powder Carbon dioxide Clean agents

The discharged
extinguishing Water with possible salts in Foam Dry chemical Carbon dioxide
medium solution containing the powders and
consists of: gas used carbon dioxide
or other gas

Formation of a
Inhibition of the local inert
combustion atmosphere
process by the (carbon dioxide)
The discharged interrupting the
Cooling of the burning materials. Water evaporation Formation of a fo am layer which which isolates
extinguishing chemical
and consequent formation of a local atmosphere isolates the burni ng products from the burning
medium causes reaction. Some
(water/steam) which isolates the burning products from the surrounding a ir and cooling in separation of material from
the extinction
the surrounding air the case of class A fires burning the surrounding
of the fire by:
materials from air. Smothering
the surrounding and cooling
air action of carbon
The electrical Very low Very low Varied Very high. Very high
resistance of Under intense
the discharged heat some
powders may be
extinguishing electrically
medium is: conductive

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Water Foam Powder dioxide Clean agents
limitations: The jet or spray of the extinguisher should be directed t owards the base of the fire Powder mixture Gas subject to
subject to windage; they
windage; they therefore have
may therefore limited
have reduced effectiveness
The extinction of the fire achieved
effectiveness in in the open or
only when all the burning surface is
the open or in in ventilated
covered by foam
ventilated spaces

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Water Foam Powder Clean agents
Not to be used where there is electrical hazard Generated Carbon
Disadvantages powder dioxide may
mixtures may be
and dangers:
be suffocating
and can impair suffocating
vision. Powder
can damage

Maintenance: Extinguishers with copper or copper alloy body should not be polished with products of Some types of
corrosive or abrasive nature which may cause wall thickness reduction. Such extinguishers powder may be
should be avoided but where used they should preferably be painted externally. altered by
therefore, avoid
The charge can freeze at temperatures of about 00C the refilling of
(unless the charge is made non-freezable chemically) The charge can freeze at about 50C. the extinguisher
The charge can be altered by in humid
elevated temperatures (about 400C locations.
Avoid installing the or more). Therefore, the When a carbon dioxide
extinguisher in extinguisher should not be installed container is provided, avoid the
excessively warm in positions where it may be installation of the extinguisher
locations, where the exposed to high or low in excessively warm locations,
internal pressure of the temperatures. where the internal pressure of
carbon dioxide in the the carbon dioxide in the
cartridge might rise to container might rise to very high
a very high value values.


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